Monday, October 24, 2011


Both my sister and I have bought quilt tops from Ebay on the internet.  I'm pretty sure she feels as I do:  the quality of Ebay quilt tops is abysmal!  From a quilting point of view, the piecing is spare and often leaves areas that are not joined with enough seam allowance so that the quilt top comes apart if any stretch is put on it.  The colors may be very pretty, but the fabric is usually thin with poor greige (pronounced "gray") goods.  These don't hold up well to repeated washings and everyday use.  And worst of all, for the person who actually quilts these tops (i.e., adding patterned sewing to the quilt sandwich), junctions between blocks sometimes don't fit, or they pucker or tent.  In that case, the quilter has to "quilt it out."

Case in point.  This is an Ebay quilt and is a wonderful Drunkard's Path pattern, rich in autumn and/or Christmas colors. This quilt is king size, so there was alot of room for puckers, tenting, mismatched seams, and two areas where the seams came apart.  Because of the variety of colors, I used a variegated autumn colors thread.  Because the main patterning was on the diagonal, and because doing custom work on a poor quality quilt like this is not using my time effectively, I used a pantograph.  Usually during the time that the pantograph is running with my marvelous IQ computerized stitching program, I can do other things, like press quilt tops, put on binding, or create new blocks for a project.  Not so with this quilt.  There was so much distortion and puffiness in the blocks that I had to babysit it the whole time, easing fabric excess into more flattened shape while the Nolting needle came perilously close to my fingers.  It took 20 minutes to do one pass of the pantograph.  There were nine passes in the entire quilt.  That means that I sat there for three solid hours pushing and patting and fitting this quilt into some semblance of a flat cover for someone's bed.

These auctioned quilt tops are not going to become heirlooms, and it certainly saves on the time it takes to create a quilt that you want to use yourself or give away as a "utilitarian" quilt, so they're definitely worth quilting.  I don't mean to take away from the people who mass produce these on Ebay, but buyer beware!  If you think you're getting something that is well made, you will be unhappy with what you find once you open the box.  Be prepared to TWEAK it with a capital T!

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